Diagnosis: Painter

Details are everything. For my aesthetic, the greatness of a painting, and its charm, are in the details, their abundance and thoughtful use. What makes my artwork relevant? The paintings themselves are either beautiful, well painted or both. Those things will always be important and interesting.


Many of my subjects are expected to be a new to the viewer, my painting serves as a colorful introduction. Distortions and details are where I express meaning. With paint I can visually describe the unseen aspects of personality and essence of character of the people and places I depict, rather than to faithfully recreate the obvious physical qualities a camera can capture.


Inspiration often comes from something unconventional and obscure. I admire unusual people who have the courage to embrace and express their uniqueness.  They often possess a beauty unappreciated by mainstream culture or values. I approach landscape work in the same way I do people. My landscapes aren't about the view, but the personality, character and history of the place. 


Each painting I begin is a new journey or discovery. There is very little repetition. I have to reinvent every time, find a new palette, new patterns, and new ways to resolve old problems. I explore a different subject and story in nearly every work. This ensures a unique and fresh experience for each painting. 


Almost all of my work takes more than a year to complete, so I develop multiple pieces at a time. The surface of the work is rich because of the many layers of paint applied over months or even years to achieve the fullness and complexity of color, diversity of value, balance of opacity and transparency that together make the paintings glow. My fascination with pattern, both organic and mechanical has increasingly come express itself in my artistic style. My best paintings use organic patterns to unite all the elements of the image. Subject, process and invention combine to make my work describable as technically accomplished, narrative painting with an expressive style and a contemporary slant.


Like the unusual people I most admire, I find my own way. My own crazy, my obsessions and observations through my uniquely warped lens are expressed through paint. Thus the moniker I use to present my body of work is, "diagnosis: painter."



I am an artist, painter and social instigator holed up in a log cabin in Colorado. My artwork reveals that I am not frightened by the unusual, and embrace unconventional beauty. My formal education took me from Los Angeles to Rome, and back to Colorado to earn my MFA with life altering experiences in between. Due to a comic twist of fate, my likeness anonymously appeared wrapped around the front and back covers of James Spada's book "The Romantic Male Nude." I am sure the irony of that was not lost to a few former lovers and mercifully, the image of me lays and lies hidden under the paper jacket. More honorably, my portrait of Yma Sumac was featured on the cover of her biography. I’ve authored some books and had numerous exhibitions of my paintings. The Library of Congress has preserved a digital archive of my work and career because of "its cultural and historci significance." My works and collaborations have been included in exhibitions at the Kinsey Institute and are in their permanent collection. Gender, beauty, movement and form are some of the subjects I’ve explored in his many collaborations with other artists. A constant source of inspiration and learning are the college students of all ages that I’ve taught over the past years. As an amateur historian and pop cutlure archaeologist, my original research has revealed fascinating stories that sometimes are documented and retold in my paintings and have been recounted by others in several books and articles. Meeting pioneering artists Don Bachardy, Elver Barker, Robert Judson and Llyod Rolfe brought together my love of art and deep interest and creative research in hidden gay history. As an art model, I explore making art and images from an entirely different approach than using paint and pen. My colorful family tree includes The Malbim, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev and the rabbinical Halperin family of Lithuania as well as Holocaust survivors, criminals, artists, psychologists, and peddlers. Absent are good musicians and Olympiads among others. My fascinating daughter shares my keen eye, sharp memory and many sensitivities.

Article in Edge New York

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Tyler Alpern by Tyler Alpern